Wednesday November 21, 2018

Researchers identify two therapeutics that can treat MERS

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images New York: In a first, researchers have discovered  therapeutics that have successfully protected and treated  mice infected with the virus that causes the Middle East  Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

In the current MERS outbreak, around 180 people have  been infected by the deadly virus in South Korea, and  nearly 30 have died.

“Though early, this is very exciting and has real potential to  help MERS patients,” said lead researcher Matthew Frieman, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).

The virus has killed more than 400 people since it was first discovered three years ago in Saudi Arabia.

In the study, the researchers found that two antibodies, REGN3051 and REGN3048, showed an ability to neutralize the virus.

“We hope that clinical study will progress on these two antibodies to see whether they can eventually be used to help humans infected with the virus,” Frieman pointed out.

This research, done in collaboration with Regeneron, a biopharmaceutical company based in Tarrytown, New York, used several of the company’s proprietary technologies to search for and validate effective antibodies targeting the virus.

MERS was first discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. It appears that the disease spread to humans from camels, who may themselves been infected by bats.

Research has shown that it is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); both are caused by Coronaviruses, both cause respiratory problems, and both are often fatal.

The paper also announced the development a novel strain of mice that can be infected with MERS.

“This new mouse model will significantly boost our ability to study potential treatments and help scientists to understand how the virus causes disease in people,” Frieman said.

The study appeared in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

(IANS)

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South Korea Confirms First Case of MERS Since 2015

Most of the 38 deaths that occurred due to the virus in South Korea were elderly people or patients affected by other illnesses.

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South Korean police on Friday sought an arrest warrant against the younger daughter of the president of Korean Air for allegedly assaulting an advertising agency executive in April.
Flag of South Korea, Pixabay

South Korean authorities on Sunday confirmed the first case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since the outbreak that affected the country in 2015 leaving 187 infected and 38 dead.

The patient, a 61-year-old man, was diagnosed with the virus on Saturday after returning from a business trip in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with transit in Kuwait, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The South Korean government has convened an emergency meeting to analyse the situation and take preventive measures.

 

South Korea, MERS
Statistics depicting MERS in South Korea.

 

The patient was admitted to a hospital in Kuwait when he began to show some symptoms of the disease and upon arrival to South Korea was transferred to the Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul.

 

The hospital alerted the authorities that it could be a possible case of MERS as symptoms included high fever and pneumonia and moved the patient to the Seoul National University Hospital where he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.

Around 20 people who were in close contact with the patient, including passengers and crew members of his flight and immigration officers, have been quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus.

South Korea, MERS
This is the first case of MERS in South Korea since its outbreak recorded between May and December 2015,

This is the first case of MERS in South Korea since its outbreak recorded between May and December 2015, after this virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and subsequently expanded to other countries.

Also Read: Harare, Zimbabwe Suffers From Cholera Outbreak

 

The mortality rate of MERS in South Korea reached 20 per cent during the outbreak, below the figures between 30 and 40 per cent that were recorded in other areas.

Most of the 38 deaths that occurred due to the virus in South Korea were elderly people or patients affected by other illnesses. (IANS)